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Emotional state induced by observing?


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Greeting SGL

Just a heads up, this topic will be slightly fuzzier than plain observation.

I just came in from a short bino session, to take advantage of the recent gap in the clouds.

At first I wanted to load my car and set up my scope somewhere, but I'm somewhat pleased I didn't. Luckily I had the brains to scout my reasonably good dark site nearby before sunset today as I had a hunch about what the snow had done, the road plows had blocked the site's access so glad I didnt load up my scope in the car just to get stopped by that. Also Chris was out of town, and my other nearby AP buddy Per I've gotten to know through the club was out of the country. That left me with no comfortable nearby dark site to put the scope at. Note to self: scout more sites. So I grabbed the bins and went out to check out the full moon in detail instead.

Took a brief peek at C14, M31, M45 and then went to work. And indeed was she grand. Hard to take it all in at once but I did enjoy the contrast that Plato and Grimaldi offered. My eyes got stuck any many other places also.

Something I've noticed the last two days of observing is that I feel strangely calm after after a while. At the beginning of my observation career this fall I've been hunting objects far and wide, while trying to squeeze in as much AP as possible. I've felt a real pressure to find new stuff. Today however I've realised I can only expect this much with the moon up and being in a somewhat light polluted area.

Also I don't know if it's my brain getting some kind of rush after having yearned for stargazing for a few weeks, or if it's the way you focus so intently on something ethereal. So for some reason I feel strangely satisfied and prepared to face more cloud cover just from a few short bino sessions.

After I had adapted a bit, found better focus and something to rest my elbows on, I really started to sink into the moon. Suddenly I noticed how the FOV started twitching very slightly to the rythm of my heart. It's the first time I've been able to count my pusle with optics. :D The serene feeling of the binoculars almost being tuned to my body rythm was very pleasant.

After popping a reusable heatpack and heading home I realised that however slight the sessions might have been I feel much more relaxed than after previous sessions. I guess it partly comes with habit, but compared to the controlled chaos of setting up my EQ mount, it's a nice change. Don't get me wrong, I get a big kick from seeing faint fuzzies and capturing photons with my AP setup, but it's really starting to sink in how multi-faceted this hobby can be.

So, my question is: How do you guys feel that observing affects your state of mind? And have you had any similar moments of serenity?

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When I observe, my mind wanders to the point of feeling like I'm drifting up into the vast universe. Talk about a really natural high :grin: Yes, observing lets you escape from all the world's problems and is (for me) so calming and peaceful. I'll never get enough of the awesome night sky :rolleyes: As for cloudy periods, like the saying goes, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" for those special clear nights :laugh:

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Emotively, once everything is set up and the session is up and running there is a sense of time slowing down. Perhsps by being stationary in the stillness of the night but acutely aware of the movement of the sky, an inner calm can take hold. Also there is the stimulation from being fully 'switched on' in locating and tracking an object whether familiar or new.

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It's a mixture for me, I'm usually buzzing when I get in and sit for about an hour going through my notes, updating my log and reading about what I've seen. Occasionally (not very often) I come in fuming..... blumming neighbough working in his shed until gone midnight with his football stadium lighting on, or the neighbour who's family need the loo fifteen times an hour (can you guess where there bathroom light shines?)

But usually it's a great evening where I feel privileged to observe the universe and honestly can't understand why everyone isn't outside doing the same. I've always been interested in science and space, but only tried a telescope for the first time a couple of years ago, now I couldn't imagine life without it.

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When I observe, my mind wanders to the point of feeling like I'm drifting up into the vast universe. Talk about a really natural high :grin:

You may have to consider tying yourself down in future, make sure you really don't float away :grin:

There really is something about observing the nights sky that is so calming, perfect after a busy day.

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I love the feeling of losing all track of time although this is partially offset by following morning fatigue especially when I have managed to stay out beyond 3am.

I usually feel completely relaxed while at the eyepiece. Focusing on something in the dead of night - can't really get much more chilled than that.

Happy days!

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I usually feel completely relaxed while at the eyepiece. Focusing on something in the dead of night - can't really get much more chilled than that.

I find this too. At least until a badger creeps up on me, or a fox starts howling nearby :)

James

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Observing long ago ceased being a stress over equipment. These days I take my time, i know what I am doing and find it quite relaxing setting up. Everything in its place and a place for everything, measured and calm, its a process that calms me and prepares me for the observing ahead.

I set up quite slowly, always checking and double checking, usually have a smoke and a few sips of coffee as the set up goes on. Its probably about 15 minutes worth, maybe a bit less maybe a bit more.

Then comes the observing. i leave the GoTo to find me stuff very often and view whatever takes my fancy and is possible with sky conditions, moon etc.

If I am solo I play some Satie or Chopin on the car stereo and let the pure piano music flow out. Feel the breeze, the nip of the night air, take lungfuls of the cold air and press my eyes to the eyepieces. Fingerless gloves lightly handling the focus and making small adjustments. Take in the views through the eyepiece and also by standing back very often and just enjoying the expansive views with my eyes.

I find a calm in knowing whatever problems I have, whatever issues I may be having in life that the stars are the same and ai am seeing essentially the same view that some andient ancestors would have seen and I find I am no less filled with wonder than they were. Knowing that nothing I do will be of any cosequence in terms of the cosmos and that any mistakes or failures on my part are nothing in the timescales of the infinite universe. Sometimes wondering if some analogue of me is also staring upwards from a planet oribiting one of the stars I am seeing and wondering of she is thinking the same thoughts.

I see it as a kind of communing with the infinite. Afterwads I feel exhausted from it all, drained emotionally. All the hurt, anger, frustration of life is removed.

i pack the kit back up, carefully and lovingly. Little by little its all put away fro the drive home. At home is another half hour to unload and check the kit over. Stimg the scope on the floor gently and making sure the EPs and accessories are all able to air and dry.

The folowing day each item is inspected to make sure it hasnt picked up any dirt, anything that needs cleaning is cleaned and then is all packed away ready for the next time. This is to me at least as important as any other aspect. Its a continuous process and part of the cycle to me.

I am not scientific in my observing, I am more in the nature of an occultist/astrologer/tourist/supplicant/priestess :)

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That's a very emotional and and personal glimpse into your observing sessions Astro_Baby. Thanks you very much for sharing that. People can argue that we're just staring into nothingness when infact we're making ourselves better people by meeting with the infinite. And if being astronomers can make us better people, that good can spread through us to those around us. That is truly something valuable.

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It's all about the state of mind, I work in a busy Neuro unit and one of my work friends compaired looking at the stars and planets to watching brain surgery, I've seen many ops and I have to agree. Standing/Sitting in a quiet dark location looking at stuff so far away that we dont yet fully understand is bliss for me and yeah it's a real buzz :)

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